I don’t know about you, but if I had a great job in a top technology company but I annoyed the cockney geezer at the top and got myself fired, I wouldn’t expect to go on a $14,000 revenge spree on the expense account without repercussions.
Super-smooth Liam Hemsworth (sadly not as skilled at picking roles as his brother Chris) does just this in a plot reminiscent of John Grisham’s superior The Firm and finds himself quite literally owned by his ex-boss (a serviceable though clichéd Gary Oldman) as he is put up to spying on the competition. Enticed into living how the other half lives and a burgeoning romance with Amber Heard’s R&D expert, Hemsworth soon discovers he’ll need to play the firm at its own game.
Only he doesn’t, because the script merely sidles up to opportunities for character development and the exploitation of technical wizardry, before losing its mettle and resorting to expositive voiceover that hammers home lessons like “Be careful what you wish for” while Hemsworth walks around topless or gazes perplexed at the sky.
Given the timeliness of a story about privacy and security issues, Paranoia should have capitalised on the zeitgeist with ease. Instead it rests of its actors’ talents more than their best efforts (though one scene with an angry Harrison Ford shows he’s still got it), and the story ends up feeling a bit ponderous and distinctly undercooked.